Help A Girl Out With Her Periods

Oh, come on, I don’t mean that kind of period. Good god, I don’t even floss my teeth in front of my husband. Do you really think I’d discuss personal feminine issues? But I had to rope you in somehow, and now that I’ve trapped you (just ask GM Barlean how good I am at that), I hope you’ll stick around.

Kids, there’s a boring topic in the neighborhood today. Let’s try to make it fun.

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art

I need to confirm where to put periods when dealing with quotation marks that set off titles or quoted or spoken language—is it before or after the final quotation mark? For example, which of the following is correct?

A. My son’s favorite new made-up word is “paenus”. It is a combination of his two other favorite words “penis” and “anus”.

Or would it be:

B. My sons call my Prius the “Vagina Car.

Although the content of those examples is regrettably true, ignore the implied parenting failure, and tell me where to put the freaking period. Is it after the final quotation mark as in exhibit A or before the final mark as in exhibit B?

The Elements of Style was no help, so I reached out to my good friend Google. From the Guide to Grammar and Writing, I found the following:

“In the United States, periods and commas go inside quotation marks regardless of logic.”

Well, that’s a shocker.

The fact that my chubby, reality-TV obsessed country defies logic will surprise no one, but the source goes on to say that in the American style, the period goes before the final quotation mark as such: “paenus.” But in the United Kingdom, Canada, and other locations influenced by British education, the period goes after the final quotation mark like this: “anus”. The same holds true for commas.

Fair enough. Clear as chocolate pudding, though I still prefer the Bristish way. But what about punctuation other than periods and commas? Well, according to the same source, all other marks follow the final quotation mark, as in:

A. Shouldn’t a father intervene when a son swats his mother’s fanny with a dishtowel, laughs, and calls her “jiggly butt”?


B. Sometimes I enjoy a good shimmy and shake to LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” or a pleasant head bobbing to Rob Zombie’s “Dragula”; nothing clears a room faster.

These last two examples apply to Americans as well as those from other lands. The punctuation part, that is. Not the jiggly butt part…

Image credit:

So, tell me, do I have my facts straight? Have I interpreted these rules correctly? And for those of you who aren’t writers or who couldn’t give a ferret’s foreskin about periods and commas, what loving terms do your children call you? Your significant others? What songs get you hopping? Are daughters as fascinated with human anatomy as sons? Whatever you’ve got, I’ll take it.

155 Responses to “Help A Girl Out With Her Periods”

  1. Chris Biscuits

    I know it’s not really dead-on-topic, but two of my favourite self-made curse words are ‘penarse’, the hideous hybrid of a penis and an arse, much like your son, and ‘anarse’, the even more repugnant combination of an anus and an arse, if you can imagine such a thing.

    Great post, sorry about my mind being in the gutter!


    • crubin

      Words like that are a common occurence in my house, so no apologies needed. Tends to happen with two sons, both of whom would enormously enjoy your self-made words. In fact, you would rate highly in their minds because of them.

      I appreciate you visiting so many of my posts and for your comments. Is much appreciated.


      • Chris Biscuits

        Well, that’s made my day! Another good crude portmanteau is ‘custard’, a medley of ‘bastard’ and the Worst Word in the World, and acceptable in polite company.

        No problem, I like to be thorough. :) I came to WordPress a newbie, just to talk at people, but I’ve ‘met’ so many excellent folks here, and they’ve all got something great to say.


        • crubin

          I agree–the commenting and responding to others’ comments can be the best part.

          As for “custard,” thank goodness my boys haven’t caught onto that “c” word yet. Of course, they’d face serious consequences if they said it in my home. But “penis,” “anus,” and “vagina”? No problem.


  2. Joanna Aislinn

    Okay, American way when I punctuate my quotable text. Music that NEVER fails to geet me moving (with lots of jiggling, I promise): Pibull’s THE ANTHEM and Ricky Martin’s THE CUP OF LIFE? Oh one more: J-Lo’s LET’S GET LOUD. Never ever fails to get my Latin on the shake.


    • crubin

      Pitbull is always good for some jiggling!

      Thanks for the feedback. This post really helped me. I now place my quotation mark related periods with confidence.


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